Anthony Pernell claims he accidentally shot Lilliana Restreppo in the head, killing her, inside his bedroom as the two struggled over a .38-caliber revolver.
The 30-year-old Wethersfield woman, Pernell told police, was upset over losing a child to the state Department of Children and Families and, after she and Pernell smoked PCP, tried to shoot herself in the head.
Restreppo suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the forehead and was declared dead inside Pernell’s family’s apartment at 48 Congress St. on March 17, 2015.
Hartford detectives told Pernell the evidence did not support his version of events, and he was charged with murder and other crimes and is now on trial in Superior Court in Hartford.
A jury began hearing evidence this week.
In a video statement to police, Pernell admitted placing the gun in Restreppo’s right hand and to staging the crime scene to make it look as if she killed herself, but later changed his story and said he went outside to make a drug transaction and that when he returned he found Restreppo suffering from a gunshot wound.
Pernell’s brother, Christopher Grant, who was at home at the time of the shooting, testified that Pernell told him, “I shot her.”
Grant testified that he was asleep at the time of the shooting, but was awakened by his brother. He said he went into his brother’s bedroom at his brother’s suggestion and saw Restreppo’s lifeless body. A cellphone was in her right hand, not a gun, he said.
Minutes passed as the brothers talked about Restreppo. At one point, Pernell went out side to make a drug deal, Grant said. He called an uncle and then his mother, who notified police.
Pernell suggested to Grant that they stage the scene to look like a suicide, Grant testified. “That would not be the right thing to do,” Grant said he responded.
Grant testified that he knew his brother was a drug dealer and that Pernell received two guns, including the .38-caliber revolver, as payment for drugs.
Hartford Officer Dom Agostino, the first officer to respond to the incident, said that when he went into the apartment Grant was on the phone frantically talking to someone. “He shot her, he shot her, I can’t believe this,” Grant was saying, Agostino testified.
Agostino said that Pernell walked from his bedroom and that he ordered him several times to stop and get on the floor. Pernell finally complied after his brother told him to do so, Agostino said.
“Give up, the cops are here,” Agostino said Grant told Pernell. “They know everything.”
Grant was not charged.